Where to watch the World Cup in Calgary

The World Cup kicks off in Russia on Thursday and there's no shortage of spots in Calgary to cheer for your favourite team.

Bars and pubs can open 30 minutes before games start and liquor can be served after kickoff

The FIFA World Cup will be awarded next month when the tournament wraps up in Russia. Many matches will be available locally on TV, and several Calgary watering holes are offering a place to go share the experience. It all starts Thursday. (Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images)

The World Cup kicks off in Russia on Thursday and there's no shortage of spots in Calgary to go cheer for your favourite team.

The province announced this week that bars and pubs in Alberta can open 30 minutes before game times and liquor can be served after kickoff. 

That will make for extra early mornings for some fans, with France facing Australia at 4 a.m. local time on Saturday in Group Stage play. 

Most Group Stage games start at 6 a.m., 7 a.m., 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. Mountain Time, but there's also noon MT kickoffs.

A full schedule of games can be found here, which are listed in Eastern Time. 

Ship & Anchor, 534 17th Ave. S.W.

Marketing manager Nicola Trolez says the Ship will be open at 5:45 a.m. for games with a 6 a.m. kickoff.

"I would imagine there are some people that want to come in and have a cup of coffee, just wake up a little bit, maybe wait until half time to order some food and a beer," she said. "But there will be others who will start off with that nervous beer right off the bat."

The Ship is a popular place for England fans, but is sure to be a melting pot during the World Cup.

"For the big games we expect to be full," said Trolez. "Certainly for the final it will be that way, for the England games and some of the big matchups. In the first week there's a Portugal-Spain game, which is a big draw, we expect to be busy. People are excited we're showing it live and we're committed to showing all the games."

Barcelona Tavern, 501 8th Ave. S.W.

"That first game between Spain and Portugal is going to be huge," said owner Jeff Hanna.

All 17 TVs will be on with the volume up.

They'll be serving alcohol from 7:30 a.m., and Hanna says there's been lots of interest from the business community.

Most games will be shown but there will be an emphasis on Spanish teams.

Wurst, 2437 4th St. S.W.

Wurst will be open early for any games Germany is playing in. All other games that are on during normal hours will be shown, too.

"Wurst is Germany Central," said general manager Kristina Boje.

"We're open for every single game that Germany is in."

Shark Club

The Deerfoot Meadows location (7995 11th St. S.E.) will be showing early games, but not the really early ones. They'll be open for games starting at 8 a.m. and later each day.

At the Calgary North location (2493 27th Ave. N.E.), manager Michael Feraco says they'll be running on a similar schedule, and will be open for games starting at 8 a.m. and later.

Feraco says they will open for 6 a.m. games to accommodate large groups upon request. He noted the Calgary North location is a popular spot for fans of African, Middle Eastern and Eastern European nations.

Pig and Duke, 1312 12th Ave. S.W.

The Pig and Duke is holding a kickoff party at 4 p.m. on Thursday and will be showing most games throughout the World Cup.

They'll be open for games starting at 8 a.m. and later, and groups wanting to watch earlier games can contact management to make arrangements.

As well, soccer fans will be given a card good for 10 per cent off their bill while watching World Cup games.

Jamesons Irish Pub, 1230 17th Ave. S.W.

Jamesons will be open for World Cup games starting at 8 a.m. and later, but that could change as the event advances, says general manager Nick Isaac.

"As the tournament goes on, when someone is down to an elimination game … we'll show it and open for it," he said.

The 17th Avenue bar is popular with fans from a number of countries.

"Definitely England, definitely France, Germany for sure," said Isaac. "And there's a bit of demand for Brazil."

With files from Dave Gilson